Policy Strategies & Innovations Link copied!
|Innovation Name||Innovation Type||Innovation Subtype||Features at a Glance||Strategy Summary|
|Competitive Pay for Professionals (CPP)||Workforce||Pay Increases||
$3/hour raise for early education staff, including educators, administrators, food services staff, and others
Announced in November 2022, New Mexico’s Competitive Pay for Professionals (CPP) program provides a $3-per-hour pay increase for all eligible child care employees, including educators, administrative staff, food services staff, and others with an active background clearance. Licensed centers and homes providing child care services, Head Start and Early Head Start programs, and Tribal Child Care and Development Block Grant funded programs are eligible to participate in the program, which will reach an estimated 16,000+ early education staff across the state. The program was initially funded using $77 million in American Rescue Plan Act dollars.Learn More: Competitive Pay for Professionals Grant Opportunity
New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department. (2022). Competitive Pay for Professionals (CPP) Grant Opportunity.
|New Mexico PreK (NM PreK)||Expansion||Universal Pre-K Policy (3-Year-Olds) Universal Pre-K Policy (4-Year-Olds)||
Percentage of 4-year-olds enrolled (as of 2022): 42%
Percentage of 3-year-olds enrolled (as of 2022): 11%
Minimum hours of operation: 3 hours/day; 5 days/week
Launched in 2005, New Mexico’s prekindergarten program served 11% of 3-year-olds and 42% of 4-year-olds in the 2021-2022 school year. The program enrolled 12,567 children in 2021-2022, an increase of 2,179 from the prior year. While eligibility is not determined by income, two-thirds of children enrolled at each program must live in the attendance zone of a Title I elementary school. Programs are funded through an application and grant process.
New Mexico PreK is funded by a competitive application and grant process. Funds are supported by a constitutional amendment, which New Mexico voters approved in 2022, that increased the distribution from the Land Grant Permanent Fund by 1.25%. Sixty percent of this increase provides $140 million annually to the Early Childhood Education and Care Department (ECECD). In FY 2024, New Mexico will spend $98 million on preschool expansion. Through this investment, over 3,000 more slots for children will be created, including 554 new slots in tribal pre-K programs as part of the White House’s efforts to expand pre-K programs through intergovernmental agreements.
In December 2022, New Mexico was awarded a federal Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five (PDG B–5) renewal grant for $10 million. Funds from this award will be used to support continued expansion across the state.Learn More: New Mexico NIEER Profile
At White House, governor highlights New Mexico’s early childhood education improvements. (2023). NM Political Report.
NIEER Declares New Mexico a National Leader in PreK (2023). National Institute for Early Education Research.
|New Mexico Cost Estimation Model||Cost Estimation for Determining Subsidy Rates||
New Mexico uses a cost estimation model as part of its 2022-2024 Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) State Plan
In 2020 and 2021, New Mexico's new Early Childhood Education and Care Department partnered with consultants to better understand the cost of programs serving its youngest citizens. It developed a cost estimation model including factors related to QRIS rating, centers and home-based-settings, and age groups. New Mexico was the only state to seek approval for an alternative methodology in its Child Care Development Fund plan for 2022–24.Learn more: child care and development fund (CCDF)
New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department (2022). Understanding the cost of quality care in New Mexico.
|Bilingual Incentive||Workforce||Bonuses and Supplemental Pay||
$1,500 per educator (per language)
Launched in November 2021, the New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department (ECECD)’s bilingual incentive program provides a one-time payment of $1,500 to early education professionals who have bilingual proficiency. This incentive responds to the growing need for early education staff who speak a language other than English. Staff are eligible for an additional payment for each additional language for which they are certified as proficient. The bilingual incentive payment program is open to all early childhood educators who provide direct support to children from birth to age 5 and who are currently working within a:
New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department. (2021). Bilingual Incentive Program.
|NM Pre-K Pay Parity||Workforce||Pay Increases Pay Scales and Parity||
Educators’ pay will increase to approximately $50,000 – $70,000 annually
Announced in September 2021, the Early Childhood Education and Care Department (ECECD) Pre-K Pay Parity Program ensures state-funded community-based pre-K educators and directors are compensated at a level comparable to pre-K teachers working in the public schools. The program covers the difference between the New Mexico Public Education Department base amount and an educator or director's annual salary. To be eligible for this program, educators and directors must:
New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department. (n.d.). Pre-K Parity Information.
|NM Early Childhood Education and Care Fund||Dedicated Funding Streams||Oil and Gas Revenue||
The fund allocates approximately $150 million to early education each year
In 2021, the New Mexico Legislature passed a joint resolution to allow voters to determine, via a constitutional amendment, whether the state should increase annual distributions from its multibillion-dollar Land Grant Permanent Fund and spend a portion of the new funding on early childhood care and education services. The amendment passed with 70% voter approval.
The annual allocation for early education and care in the state is approximately $150 million. This dedicated funding stream builds on a decade of advocacy; New Mexico Voices for Children initially proposed the Land Grant fund in 2011 and tried every year thereafter to pass the legislation.Learn More: How Grassroots Activists Got Early Childhood Education Aid on the Ballot in New Mexico
|NM Early Childhood Education and Care Department||Infrastructure Systems||Administrative + Governance Models||
Created a new department of early childhood
In March 2019, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed SB 22 into law, establishing the New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department, a cabinet-level state agency charged with overseeing early childhood programs across the state. After a transitional period, the new department launched officially in July 2020.
The state then enacted a $109 million expansion of New Mexico PreK to improve pre-K teacher compensation, increase instructional hours, and expand access to pre-K for thousands of children across the state. As a result, pre-K enrollment grew from 10,989 children in fiscal year 2019 to 14,183 in fiscal year 2022. During this time, the state also expanded the Child Care Assistance Program, doubling the eligibility threshold for families from 200 percent to as much as 400 percent of the federal poverty level.
The creation of a new department does not automatically create better outcomes for children, but it can help provide the structure and coordination needed to improve early education quality and accessibility across a state or city (Kagan & Gomez, 2015).Learn More: New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department
|New Mexico Early Childhood Integrated Data System||Infrastructure Systems||Data Systems||
Early Childhood Integrated Data System
Founded in 2016, the New Mexico Public Education Department's (NMPED) New Mexico Early Childhood Integrated Data Systemfunctions as a warehouse for state early childhood programs and policies. The system stores and integrates demographic, program, workforce, and individual data across the three agencies of NMPED; Child, Youth, and Families Department (CYFD); and the New Mexico Department of Health (DOH). The system deidentifies individual data by providing a unique identifier to each child.
Starting in 2023, the New Mexico Department of Early Childhood Education and Care will be collaborating with three other state agencies to use this data to contribute to the state’s new P-20 integrated data system, Research Informing Success in Education (RISE) New Mexico.
The system has been funded by the federal Race to the Top–Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) grant and Preschool Development Grant Birth Through 5 (PDG B-5).
The new RISE New Mexico system has been funded by $4.25 million from the 2022 legislative session (state appropriates), 2 million in federal omnibus spending bills, grants, public entities, and NGOs since its inception in 2021.Learn More: The New Mexico Early Childhood Integrated Data System (ECIDS)
Demographics Link copied!
2,113,344 Source U.S. Census, 2022
25.5% Source U.S. Census, 2020
74.5% Source U.S. Census, 2020
Number of children age 0-4
115,008 Source KIDS COUNT, 2021
Poverty levels – children 0-8 below 200% poverty
51% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021
Median family income among households with children
$58,700.00 Source KIDS COUNT, 2021
3.9% Source U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, December 2022
Unemployment rate of parents
7% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021
Children under age 6 with all available parents in the labor force
N/A, for most states between 65%-75% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021
Children living in households with a high housing cost burden
26% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021
Child population by race and ethnicity Source KIDS COUNT, 2021
Race and Ethnicity
- American Indian and Alaska Native (10%)
- Asian (1%)
- Black or African American (2%)
- Hispanic or Latino (62%)
- Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander (0.49%)
- Two or More Races (3%)
- White, not Hispanic or Latino (23%)
Political Landscape Link copied!
Early Childhood Education Programs Link copied!
Percent of 3-Year-Old Children Enrolled in Public Early Childhood Education Programs Source: NIEER 2023
- 3-year-old children enrolled in state-funded public pre-K (11%)
- 3-year-old children enrolled in Head Start (14%)
- Other/none (75%)
Percent of 4-Year-Old Children Enrolled in Public Early Childhood Education Programs Source: NIEER 2023
- 4-year-old children enrolled in state-funded public pre-K (42%)
- 4-year-old children enrolled in Head Start (12%)
- Other/none (46%)
Workforce Link copied!
2017–2019 Median Hourly Wages Source CSCCE 2018, 2020
- Child care workers
- Preschool teachers
- Preschool or child care center directors
Funding Sources Link copied!
Federal and State Early Childhood Education Funding (in millions) Source First Five Years Fund, 2022
- Head Start and Early Head Start Funding ($102.0)
- CCDBG & Mandatory Funds ($65.2)
- CCDBG State Match ($2.7)
- CCDBG COVID Relief Allocations – CARES, CRRSE, ARPA (CCDF & Stabilization) ($431.6)
- State-Funded Pre-K ($92.7)
- MIECHV ($3.5)
- IDEA Part C ($4.0)
- IDEA Part B, Sec 619 ($4.9)
- TANF Early Learning and Care Expenditures ($104.6)
The COVID Funding Cliff
All federal COVID relief allocations, including funding authorized by the CARES, CRRSE, and ARPA bills, must be fully spent by September 2024. An analysis from the Century Foundation shows this loss of funds could cause more than 3 million children to lose access to child care nationwide – including more than 17,000 children in New Mexico.